Welcome to the first edition of LoveSCOpe! We set up students on free blind dates and see what happens. Dates will be published every month. Click here to apply.
"Good teachers are born to teach," Mary Lou Thornton says, sitting in her office, surrounded by books, photos and papers. Thornton, who teaches three Honors United States History classes and is the resource teacher for the Social Studies department, has been teaching for a long time. "I've been at Blair since 2004 or 2005. It's been such a long time I can't remember," she says laughing. During her time at Blair she has developed a reputation of being fun teacher with interesting classes.
The Hand of God, playing long stick middy, seeing multiple music shows and stopping a fight in his first day as a teacher at Blair, the list goes on and on. Robert Gibb has seen and experienced all of these things and more in and out of Blair during his 24-year tenure.
James Mogge pulls up a chair in the hallway after school before heading back into his classroom. He stays late to give extra help to students who are waiting patiently in their seats. Kids stay after the bell rings, going over their notes and working with Mr. Mogge.
Allen's teaching style is self-described as three things: structured, no-nonsense and organized, and these qualities are apparent. He controls his class, and will not put up with anything but civility. His style ensures complete focus from the students, whether he's lecturing or performing one of his classic solo music acts.
Students stop in the middle of what they're doing to come up to Maima Barclay; they hug and kiss her cheeks as she puts her arms around them and comments on what they're working on. Everyone says hello in the hallway and as she sits down Barclay rummages through her purse, pulls out a Baby Ruth candy bar and offers it to anyone.With her down-to-earth and playful personality, Barclay is a teacher that students fawn over.
An enticing smell wafts through the hallway outside of room 365. Loud laughter is heard along with the occasional phrase in a foreign language. Within the classroom, Blazers sit and stand in a lazy circle with delicious moon cakes and crackers melting in their mouths. They make frequent visits to the front of the room for more Asian snacks, play an animal game as an icebreaker between upper and underclassmen and revel in their shared, unique culture.
A variety of forms and contours roam the Blair hallways. Some don prickly spots, whereas some sport patchy areas. Others go thick and dark, red and curly, and scruffy and wild. Some barely measure a few centimeters in diameter and few are lengthy. A small number are well-kept and untangled, while furry, shaggy borderline unsightly ones can be found. No matter the volume, shape, trim or surface, these hairy chins will unite together for charity.
Jasmine green tea, stacks of student papers and open textbooks surround Mary McManus on a covered desk in a hot computer room. McManus teaches a variety of classes ranging from Software Applications to Computer Programming in the Business and Computer Science Department.
The lights are dimmed as social studies teacher David Swaney sits among teenage students, below a stage decked with flashy costumes and dramatic actors. He sits as those around him do: with their violins propped steadily on their shoulders and their right arms flying wildly to create an energetic stream of music, as background for the torrent of song coming from the stage. Swaney plays with his fellow pit members, delighted to be engaging in one of his favorite pastimes while supporting his students' extracurricular interests.
Swiveling in his chair and contemplating his typical weekend plans, Franklin Stallings chuckles and says, "Work." Since he was 16 years old, Stallings says, he can't remember a period in his life when he was not working.
The foreign language academic support classroom is perpetually jam-packed during lunch as students filter in and out, looking for a teacher to help them. The environment seems chaotic – that is, until the commanding presence of Spanish teacher Dora Gonzalez enters the room. She hands each student the material that they need in a businesslike fashion. Then, noticing a former student complaining about his work, she addresses the classroom jocularly as her smile belies her seriousness. "If he had taken a class with me, he would have experienced a lot of fun," she says.
Technology teacher John Holt idly twirls a file in his hands as he sits on a mini-stool in a third-floor tech lab on the third floor overlooking the courtyard on a bright blue-skied afternoon in May, as he recalled how he had made his career choice and ended up at Blair. Having grown up right down the street from Blair, Holt is accustomed to such afternoons.
Wearing a black headscarf and clutching a rolling backpack that follows the short steps of her petite frame, language teacher Sawsan Darwish stands out at Blair. But in just a year, Darwish has managed to merge into the Blair community with her charismatic personality.
The bustle in Celita Davis's classroom can be heard from down the hall. Groups of students fill the room, some chattering loudly in Spanish, others crowded around a computer watching YouTube clips. In a corner, four friends are busily engaged in a fierce game of Uno. Colorful pictures from a Pi Day activity cover the back wall, and inspirational posters adorn the front board. A box of calculators lies abandoned on a desk and caricatures replace math equations on the white board. The scene is not unusual except for the time of day—it is 5B lunch, and these students have voluntarily abandoned the cafeteria for the comfort of their math classroom, room 235.
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